The Stroop Effect is a well-known phenomenon in which your brain is fooled.
It is an interesting topic that has been widely used in psychological studies for several years now. It is the phenomenon in which something does not match what your brain thinks it should be. The human brain is an intricate piece of the human body; its function controls anything and everything. The Stroop Effect is an intriguing way for that muscle to be tricked or fooled. It is the definition of a ‘mind game’, and an interesting one at that.
Many people have heard of the Stroop Effect being used in various experiments, but not many know the name of it. It was named after Mr. John Ridley Stroop. Probably the most well-known study that utilizes this effect is the color tests.
The experiment is made up of two simple tests. The first test is when the color word does match the color of the text. An example would be the color ‘orange’ written in orange.
This one can be done in a matter of a few seconds or less. The second test is a little more difficult, and this is how the Stroop Effect was created. It takes place when the color of the text does not match the color that the word reads. For example, the color ‘orange’ is written in purple text. Colors can be easily distinguished and words can be easily read, but when the two of them are not in alignment with each other, the human brain is fooled. It is still very possible for someone to be able to do both tests quite quickly, but for the majority of the people, the misalignment between the colors and the words delays their reaction time.
When I participated in this experiment online, I finished the first test in a matter of 8 seconds, while the second test took me 18 seconds. A whole 10-second difference in my ability to process these simple words and colors that I have known since before Pre-K. It is a baffling experiment and it has been conducted in numerous ways other than just the standard color tests. One study that utilized the Stroop Effect differently is the Numerical Stroop Effect conducted by Windes. He did the same form of study very similar to the color tests, but instead, he used numbers. For example, the control that was given for this experiment was ‘three to ZZZ’. Participants were expected to say ‘three’, not Z .This seems easy since they are separate beings; numbers and letters. It quickly became much more difficult when both of the variables were numbers.
After being given the control to assure the experimenter that his participants knew what they were doing, they were given a problem such as ‘two to 22’. In this instance, ‘two’ would be the correct answer since the number of digits was 2. Their third and final problem was one such as ‘four to 222’. Participants were expected to answer with ‘three’ since there are 3 digits in the number 222. This is extremely confusing and complicated, but Windes found that the congruent conditions produced better results than the incongruent conditions because less time was spent on counting the digits if they realized the digits matched the number stated before it.
Another group did a study that experimented with the Stroop Effect and bilinguals. Most people would expect bilinguals to do better on this type of task since they are already conditioned to recognize different words in different languages. However, this is not the case when talking about the Stroop Effect. The experimenters evaluated bilingual people and monolingual people, and surprisingly, the results of the monolinguals far outweighed that of the bilingual people. This is presumably because monolinguals only have one language they are focused on 100% of the time. For bilinguals, on the other hand, that number is cut in half. 50% is one language, and 50% is the other. This reduces their results for the word recognition Stroop Effect.
Once it is explained, it makes total sense and is very intriguing. Although it is quite shocking, monolinguals perform better than bilinguals on this specific test. Out of the three studies previously mentioned-the word color tests, the numerical test, and the bilingual test-all three of them showed interesting results. Both the numerical test and the word color test showed basic results; the congruent variables presented better results than when the variables were incongruent. On the contrary, the bilingual test is much different in the sense that the results were not simply two different tests given to the same type of people. It was one single test given to two different populations of people. This made for a very interesting and unique spin on the general Stroop Effect.
Across the three studies mentioned here, all of the results are fascinating. With all of this knowledge of the Stroop Effect, people have begun to think of ways to cheat the test, or ways to simply perform better. I believe that squinting the eyes helps with the word color tests. As far as the numerical test goes, focusing on the end number instead of the beginning number is probably the safest bet. There is no way to cheat the test per day. It is just a matter of strategy and persistence. So many examples and explanations have been given. I truly believe that the Stroop Effect is a natural phenomenon that cannot be avoided in the sense of the human body; it just happens. This study has been researched for several years, and hopefully will continue to produce exceptionally fascinating results.